Russian cargo ship makes history with record-breaking trip to ISS

A Progress MS-series vehicle approaches the International Space Station for docking

A Progress MS-series vehicle approaches the International Space Station for docking

This was the first Russian cargo mission to demonstrate an "expedited capability" that will likely be used again in future, NASA said in a statement.

So far, Russian spacecraft have proved to be faster than any others which headed to the space station.

It was reported earlier that Soyuz 2.1a rocket with Progress-MS-09 cargo spacecraft was launched for a fast-track orbital rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Now, if you don't keep up with the minutia of space travel that might just sound like a number, so to give you some context, the previous record was five hours and 39 minutes. But when Progress 70 undocks from the ISS, it will take something else back home with it: the entire Pirs docking compartment.

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At the moment of launch, the International Space Station, streaking through space at almost five miles per second, was expected to be just 370 miles to the southwest of Baikonur.

The Progress 70 launch is Russia's third attempt to fly a superfast mission to the space station. Over those 40 years, the vast majority of Progress launches have taken 34-orbit (2-day) journeys to whatever space stations (Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir, or ISS) they have resupplied.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said the faster maneuver became possible thanks to a new version of the Soyuz booster rocket, noting that it puts the ship into orbit with higher precision. Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems will launch a Cygnus cargo mission to the ISS for NASA in November, followed by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft later that month.

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